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BMW X1 xDrive20i Auto Driven

BMW X1 X-Drive 2.0

And that’s when it hit me, it all made perfect sense. It’s a family car for the modern family.

BMW X1 xDrive 20i

Price: R 433,619
Monthly: R 8,486
Engine: 2.0-litre Turbo
Cylinders: 4- straight
Power: 135kw
Torque: 270Nm
Gearbox: 8-speed Auto
Engine Mount: Front
Driving Wheels: All 4
0-100 km/h: 7.9 seconds
Top Speed: 215 km/h
Weight: 1675 kgs
Consumption: 7.1 l/100
CO2: 167 g/km

BMW X1-3

BMW X1-6

Meet the BMW X1 xDrive 20i. It’s loosely based on the 3 series, just more odd looking, like it’s somewhere between a hatch and an SUV.

But let’s talk about the elephant in the room shall we? Why would BMW make an X1, when they have perfectly good hatches in the 1 series, and perfectly good SUV’s in the X3? I spent some time driving the X1 to try and figure this out and came to some interesting conclusions.

First, the looks, which I find to be odd, but oddly cool all at the same time. BMW’s of late have not lacked much in the design department. The sharp lines seem to work well for them. The lines in the X3 are all in the right place, and work well together. A few generations ago BMW wasn’t so lucky with their lines, but they’ve gotten better at it.

Once you’re in the car though it’s a surprisingly pleasant seating arrangement. Typically in bigger SUV’s you get the feeling that you’re higher up than everyone else, and while the X1 does give you that slightly elevated feel, it feels like it’s a cross between a 1 series and a 3 series jumped up a foot off the ground.

The interior strangely isn’t as big on the inside as you’d expect. Sure isn’t much more than a 1 series and a bit more than a 3 series, but just doesn’t seem like it’s as much as it could be. While you could get 2 adults in the back, they’re likely to be grumpy passengers after a while.

Where it does begin to make sense though is when you fold the rear seats down and stick some bikes in the back. And that’s when it hit me, it all made perfect sense. It’s a family car for the modern family.

As a family car the X1 works pretty well. It’s far more practical that a 1 series, better than a 3, and not as big or pricey as the X3. In the rear 2 kids will be more than comfy, you’ve got boot space for all their school stuff and sports kit. The rails on the roof mean you can easily attach roof racks for bikes, surfboards and whatever else they want to lug around.

You can easily fold the rear seats down for enormous amounts of space, and besides all this practicality you’re still driving a good looking BMW.

The X1 drives like a typical BMW too. The ride is firm but not hard and provides solid handling. One thing that irked me about he X1 though was the heavy steering. It’s the second X1 I’ve tested and the steering has been heavy on both. Compared the Audi Q3, the X1’s steering is noticeably heavier.

The 135kW engine in this 2.0-litre X Drive variant isn’t too bad on the power delivery either. Acceleration is slightly delayed, and due to the heavy steering it can feel like a blunt instrument. But it’s a good car for an upmarket urban family.

The BMW X1 xDrive 20i is currently available from BMW dealers in South Africa.

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